Iran backs any measure to stabilise oil market

Friday 12/02/2016
Cooperation will help spark recovery

TEHRAN - Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Wednesday his country supported steps taken by other major producers that could stabilise the market and lead to price hikes for crude.

But after a meeting with his Iraqi, Venezuelan and Qatari counterparts in Tehran, a day after Saudi Arabia, Russia and several other big producers agreed to freeze output, Zanganeh did not say Iran would follow suit.

"We look forward to the beginning of cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries and we support any measure that can stabilise the market and increase prices," he was quoted as saying by the ministry's news service, Shana.

"This is a first step but we need others. We look forward to the start of cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries."

Zanganeh's comments came a day after Saudi Arabia, OPEC's kingpin, and Russia, which is not a member of the cartel, agreed to cap output at January levels after months of low prices caused by a global supply glut.

Venezuela, Qatar and Kuwait also signed on, but all agreed the move was conditional on other major producers joining in.

The Islamic republic has long said it must pump more oil -- despite plunging prices -- as it seeks to regain market share lost during a US- and European-imposed embargo that flattened its exports.

Zanganeh had said Tuesday that Iran "won't relinquish" its market share but added that "there was room for discussion and examination" of moves to fix a production ceiling.

However before Wednesday's talks Mehdi Asali, Iran's director general of OPEC Affairs at the oil ministry, blamed other producers for creating a glut and signalled Tehran would not change course.

Iran has ramped up production since last month after sanctions were lifted on its energy sector when an agreement with world powers on its nuclear programme was implemented.

Iran had been producing around 2.8 million barrels per day, around one million of which were exported, but after the nuclear deal it announced an immediate hike of 500,000 bpd. A further 500,000 bpd are planned to be added by the end of 2016.

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